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This Is Who We Defend?

05 Sep

 

Despite the atrocious and inhumane “form” of killing employed by the Assad regime, the rebels who we are currently calling the “Free Syrian Army” are just as despicable. Why in the world would we rush to the aid of people like this? Furthermore, Russia among others are questioning the reports that the gas was used by Assad, calling John Kerry a liar, and threatening action of their own if we act. This entire situation is FUBAR, and we should keep our distance save for one condition. And that condition would be based on our resolve to act in a decisive manner on the scale of WWII. If we don’t have the courage, strength and resolve to annihilate the region, impose our morality and our will, and occupy that region for decades to come – then we shouldn’t do anything, because tepid acts of war accomplish nothing.

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47 Comments

Posted by on September 5, 2013 in Middle East, World Conflict

 

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47 responses to “This Is Who We Defend?

  1. meursault1942

    September 5, 2013 at 10:31 am

    “This entire situation is FUBAR, and we should keep our distance”

    I couldn’t agree more. I don’t see any upside to getting involved. Not for us, not for Syria as a country, not for the Syrians.

    I do slightly disagree with this, though: “tepid acts of war accomplish nothing.”

    They do accomplish some things–all of them bad. We’ve been doing that kind of crap in the Middle East for decades, and all it does is make things worse for everybody. Can we please finally learn our lesson?

     
  2. mitchethekid

    September 5, 2013 at 10:45 am

    Does the above video show these people getting killed? I’d rather not watch if it does. Movies are one thing, reality another. There was a video a few yrs back of some guy in India or Pakistan standing on top of one of those electric street car things. He grabbed the wire and WHOOSH up in flash. All that was left was smouldering ash.

     
    • Cluster

      September 5, 2013 at 10:46 am

      The video blacks out when the shooting begins.

       
  3. mitchethekid

    September 5, 2013 at 11:13 am

    What I think personally about this situation won’t change either the outcome of the violence or our adding to it. One the one hand; and as I have said before, to expect killing to be “civilized” is absurd. But using gas as a method is horrifying. I’m not sure if limited missile strikes will have any effect, other than unintended consequences. But on the other, and purely for spite I’m getting immense pleasure watching the same people who so fanatically supported the Iraq war do a 180 and turn into thoughtful pacifists. The President did the right thing by going to congress with actual evidence, not paranoid conjecture. It does seem though that the majority of Americans do not want any involvement at all, even though the President has assured people that no troops will be deployed.
    The only reason I see to attach a moral aspect to death and destruction is to ease a guilty conscious. And even though those people have been butchering each other for centuries, the intentional use of a weapon that causes horrific pain and suffering needs to be addressed. There are so many ironies here, it makes me dizzy. The most obvious one is that all of this about religion. So much for the golden rule. Sadder still are those who are so souless in their cynicism about the President, the “media” and everything else in between soup and nuts that they believe their own bullshit. If they were so smart they’d be in charge, not griping about conspiracies or how rotten everything is or suffering from delusional thinking whilst they pontificate around the office water cooler.

     
    • Cluster

      September 5, 2013 at 12:09 pm

      It only has something to do with a distorted interpretation of religion, but has nothing to do with God. I have always been a little more than suspect on anyone who wears religion on their sleeve, and pretends to know what God wants, and this goes for the Islamist who calls us infidels, to the Methodist who regularly attends weekend services but violates every tenet during the week. There is a right and a wrong, and evil does exist in this world.

      In Syria, we are witnessing a battle between evil and evil. There are no good sides and that is where our dilemma lies. It’s horrible to witness the suffering of women and children, and to accept the fact that thousands upon thousands of families are being uprooted and fleeing to safety, but what do we do? If we bomb Assad, we tilt the playing field to a group just as morally deficient as Assad’s group, and anger other powers to be at the same time – Russia, Iran, etc. If we don’t bomb, we pretty much tell the world that we are no longer a beacon of power, civil rights and justice, and reinforce the ME perception of us as a paper tiger.

      We are at a cross roads, and our next decision is crucial. I don’t blame anyone for having second thoughts on going into Syria, even those who supported Iraq. I think Iraq was a noble effort, and we spent a lot of blood and treasure trying to help the Iraqi’s get out from under an oppressive ruler who also used chemical weapons on his citizens and killed his adversaries. But we learned a lot. We learned that no matter how much money we spend, or many lives we give, the effort is thankless and the savagery in the ME is nearly impossible to destroy. Even today, they still car bomb each other.

      I think we all need to take a long look in the mirror, and ask ourselves if we are prepared to risk our way of life to defend the “moderate” Muslims and possibly the civilized world. I also think we need to be honest with ourselves and admit that if one of these rogue elements get their hands on nuclear weapons, they will use them. And that day is coming. We can pretend that diplomacy and limited engagement will work, but it will not. The only answer is to permanently eradicate this radical Islamist cancer, and the only way to do that is through overwhelming force, tactical nuclear strikes, and years and years of occupation and nation building. This will require unwavering resolve. Think WWII, only bigger. I am just not sure if we are up to the task.

       
      • meursault1942

        September 5, 2013 at 2:45 pm

        “I have always been a little more than suspect on anyone who wears religion on their sleeve, and pretends to know what God wants”

        Abso-freaking-lutely. The more convinced somebody is that they speak for God, the less likely it is that they are in line with God’s wishes. When somebody proclaims that they are doing something “in the name of God,” they’re doing it for themselves and pretending that God wants them to do it.

        “reinforce the ME perception of us as a paper tiger.”

        I’ve heard this a lot–and not just of late, either–but I wonder if that really is the ME perception. We’ve certainly proved many times over to Middle Easterners that we’re fully capable of killing a whole shitload of them; I don’t think they doubt our lethality, or even our will to be lethal, as we’ve been killing them for many years now. We might not (probably won’t) straight-up conquer them WWII-style, but we sure will rain a lot of death on them.

         
      • Cluster

        September 5, 2013 at 3:03 pm

        They rain a lot of death on themselves. The “moderates” (although I wonder just how many moderates there are), are afraid to death (no pun intended) of the radicals, and do not have the courage to confront them. Neither does the civilized world for that matter.

        I don’t think it’s the death toll that the moderate Islamists are mad at us about. I think it is our courage of conviction. The moderates, and other civilized countries are afraid to get behind us because they know that we lose our will over time, and so do the radicals. They just simply wait us out. We also don’t have a stomach for death the way they do. They know that we will eventually turn away from gruesome killings – so they exact as much as they can; beheadings, car bombs, etc.. That is why the only way to defeat them, is to completely overwhelm them, and we do have that capability. And unfortunately, I think a limited amount of tactical nuclear strikes would be needed in the beginning, followed by an invasion that surpasses that of WWII.

        If we go in this time, the radicals need to know that we’re not fucking around anymore, and their day is over. But again, I don’t know if we have the stomach for it.

         
      • ricorun

        September 6, 2013 at 8:58 am

        Cluster: And unfortunately, I think a limited amount of tactical nuclear strikes would be needed in the beginning, followed by an invasion that surpasses that of WWII.

        Up the ante on the use of WMDs, is that it? Aside from the pregnant irony of that idea, aside from the international outcry it would provoke, and aside from the regional complications it would induce, I don’t think it would work. If Iraq (and to a lesser extent Afghanistan) demonstrated anything it’s that we can totally eliminate an existing regime and whatever people are left still won’t play nice — at least until they get so freakin’ exhausted from killing each other that they have something akin to an epiphany. There are exceptions, of course, but if you think back in history (especially within the :”modern era”) that’s what usually ends the strife.

        Add to that what Cluster said about all the apparent outcomes being bad. It’s very sad, but it certainly does appear that way. In that respect it’s not unlike the Iran/Iraq war. That was one exceedingly vicious border dispute that exposed ideological hatreds, resulted in millions dead, but essentially no territory won or lost. Of course after it ended recriminations about our role in that conflict flew from one side of the aisle to the other and back, pretty much to this day. But the strategy worked. Sure, it left standing two of the most unsavory regimes in the world at the time, but at least people stopped killing each other. And realistically, what were the alternatives? It’s hard to say because they didn’t happen (i.e., they’re counterfactuals). But it seems reasonable to suggest that if one or the other side had completely vanquished the other, the outcome would have resulted in even worse problems for most of the other inhabitants of the world. So that, I think, is the best strategy in Syria: intervene in a way that is designed to optimize the likelihood that neither side will win, forcing them to come to some sort of political settlement once they get tired of killing each other.

        Call me cynical, but it seems to me that the current issue of Syria’s regime using chemical weapons provides a perfect cover for that kind of strategy. Measured retaliation against that use has considerable moral justifications. And since the Syrian regime has been gaining ground recently, it also has the advantage of leveling the playing field. Listen carefully to what Obama says. I think that’s what he’s thinking.

         
      • rustybrown2012

        September 6, 2013 at 11:03 am

        Cluster:

        “I think a limited amount of tactical nuclear strikes would be needed in the beginning, followed by an invasion that surpasses that of WWII.”

        “the only answer is to permanently eradicate this radical Islamist cancer, and the only way to do that is through overwhelming force, tactical nuclear strikes, and years and years of occupation and nation building.”

        This is an absurd idea, and one completely lacking any legal, moral or ethical precedent or authority. You are advocating no less than the mass slaughter of innocents.

         
      • Cluster

        September 6, 2013 at 11:21 am

        This is an absurd idea, and one completely lacking any legal, moral or ethical precedent or authority. You are advocating no less than the mass slaughter of innocents.

        You prove my point. Our nation does not have the will or the stomach to take on such a monumental task, as we did during WWII. Do you think our country worried about legal and moral authority when bombing Hiroshima and Nagasaki? Or carpet bombing Germany? Lots of innocent lives were lost during WWII. But we won the war, won the peace, and secured our safety. It takes courage and some ruthlessness especially when your battling barbarians.

         
      • rustybrown2012

        September 6, 2013 at 1:44 pm

        Cluster,

        Well, you really can’t make any logical comparison of our present day relation to the Middle East with WWII. We are not at war with the Middle East. They have not attacked us. A preemptive, surprise military strike against an unsuspecting nation that has not directly attacked us would be murder. Tell me, Patton, where would you send the first bombs?

         
      • Cluster

        September 6, 2013 at 1:50 pm

        I actually advocate that we DO NOT go in now. The conditions are not right, and the provocation is not severe enough. I think we keep our distance at this time, only because Syria is not an imminent threat, the rebels are just as despicable as Assad, and a larger conflict could easily be stirred up with Russia and/or Iran if we do.

        But I do think we need to let the world know, that if our sovereignty, or our allies sovereignty, is threatened and/or attacked again, the perpetrators will suffer a fate unequalled to anything before. We will rain a hell on them that will make Hiroshima and Nagasaki look like a dust up.

         
      • rustybrown2012

        September 6, 2013 at 1:57 pm

        Cluster,

        I don’t think you’re expressing yourself very well. Your equivocations are in direct contrast to your “nuke ’em now” approach which I quoted you above. I’m confused.

         
      • Cluster

        September 6, 2013 at 2:08 pm

        I said, “IF” we go in, which I am thinking Obama is inclined to do. But I wouldn’t.

         
      • rustybrown2012

        September 6, 2013 at 2:23 pm

        No, you did not qualify your original statements with an “if”, that’s why I misunderstood you and believed you were advocating preemptive nuclear strikes.

         
      • Cluster

        September 6, 2013 at 2:51 pm

        This is the sentence I used to base the premise of the entire thread Rusty:

        If we don’t have the courage, strength and resolve to annihilate the region, impose our morality and our will, and occupy that region for decades to come – then we shouldn’t do anything,

        Note how the sentence begins.

         
      • rustybrown2012

        September 6, 2013 at 2:55 pm

        Cluster,

        Point taken. I was lost in the weeds of the thread and forgot about your original post. Apologies.

         
      • Cluster

        September 6, 2013 at 3:01 pm

        No worries

         
    • rustybrown2012

      September 6, 2013 at 7:40 am

      Cluster,

      I agree with much of what you say about Syria; I think bombing would be ineffectual at best. The situation is extremely fucked and the only course I can see is to try to build some kind of multinational coalition – even then, I’m not sure what that would accomplish outside of a full scale invasion, occupation and restructuring similar to Iraq, and look at how well that turned out. Maybe some type of strong military border presence to help refugees escape? At least that might save some innocent lives. Whatever is done, America should not be the world’s policeman this time; I’m tired of that roll and we have our own entanglements and long-term problems to deal with. Where’s the UN?

       
      • Cluster

        September 6, 2013 at 7:42 am

        I agree 100%.

         
  4. mitchethekid

    September 5, 2013 at 12:47 pm

    It certainly is a problem. And there are so many facets. Human nature, power, uneducated masses, 3rd world living conditions and yes, a bastardized Islam. But like all things, no problem is insurmountable but to blame the President instead of coming up with a solution(s) is tawdry, weak and just another excuse to do nothing. Except of course, to engage in another round of waving a banner of idealism.
    I think Einstein said that he didn’t know how WW III would be fought, but WW IV would be fought with sticks and stones. Back to the future…

     
  5. GMB

    September 6, 2013 at 4:39 am

    In September of 1945 we had fascist Italy, national socialist Germany, and Imperial Japan. They all had been defeated militarily and and in their own minds morally. By the time of military occupation by the allied powers, the civilian moral of those nations had been utterly destroyed.

    They had no choice but to believe that they had been defeated. All they had to do was walk outside their own homes and look at the bomb craters and rubble of their cities to make it a reality.

    The militant islamic movement needs to suffer the same fate if anyone ever wants them to change. Members of al queada need to see the dead bodies of their own families and the rubble of their own homes. This might effect some change.

    What will effect a better change is that anytime a imam, mullah, or ayatohlla, starts preaching “kill the infidel” someone in the crowd stands up and shoots him right then and there.

    My two cents.

     
    • bardolf2

      September 6, 2013 at 7:39 am

      The comparison unfortunately falls well short. We were at war with Japan and the Japanese Army and pretty much the Japanese populous. In fact the enemy was so pronounced the US even put Japanese, Italian and German Americans in prisons and took away their radios and other stuff.

      When a mullah says the West has destroyed their region by handing over the natural resources to a few sheiks, is polluting the value system of their religion with Hollywood abortion culture and a bunch of poor, illiterate Muslims cheer this message who are we supposed to bomb?

      I say stay home and let the populous of these countries fight their own fights. If a terrorist comes from their lands and attacks the US we go in and take care of the situation with extreme prejudice.

       
      • mitchethekid

        September 6, 2013 at 8:09 am

        Extreme prejudice. Colonel Kurtz. Apocalypse Now. Allpolyticsnow. Very clever!

         
      • GMB

        September 6, 2013 at 8:21 am

        I am not proposing United States military involvement at all. What I am saying that there is a growing body of manpower across the muslim world that is ready to fight to the death. They should be given that that opportunity. Preferably they should be given that that opportunity to fight to the death against other muslims or against people that have a history of defeating muslims.

        However when the muslim world calls for the useless nations to save them they should be ignored. Do you see that happening? I do not.

        We should encorage the muslims to fight other muslims at every opportunity.

         
  6. sarahbloch

    September 6, 2013 at 7:16 am

    I’m finding very little analysis of this particular political situation in the US as compared with the situation in the fall and winter of 2002. Back then the White House started a PR campaign to convince the American people that there was a clear and present danger regionally and at home from Saddam Hussein. Syria, a possessor of WMD was not even listed as a member of the Axis of Evil. The American people still in shock from being attacks by Muslim apostates on 9/11 swallowed the stories about mobile biological weapons trucks and aluminum tubes and yellowcake and America put boots on the ground in Iraq. How poorly that turned out is not for political scientists and tell but for those who perished in the conflict to remind us.

    Today you have a clear violation of international law in Syria where Assad has gassed his own people and those dead cry out just as those who had their lives wasted by a needless war in Iraq still cry out. This is simply yet another difficult issue that needs to be resolved by your own legislative process. I would prefer that Assad’s government pay some price in blood for the crime against humanity they have committed but it appears that conservatives with the comfort of short memories would prefer political “points” be scored rather than have the rule of law followed.

    Progressives are also voicing concerns and those are the same concerns I and others expressed in the run up to the Iraq War. Back then American conservatives said that anyone who didn’t support the troops was supporting terrorists, but today these are seen by conservatives only as a “divide among the Left.”

     
    • Cluster

      September 6, 2013 at 7:26 am

      Today you have a clear violation of international law in Syria where Assad has gassed his own people – Sarah

      So Sarah, are you conveniently forgetting this “violation of international law”?

      As early as April 1987, the Iraqis used chemical weapons to remove Kurds from their villages in northern Iraq during the Anfal campaign. It is estimated that chemical weapons were used on approximately 40 Kurdish villages, with the largest of these attacks occurring on March 16, 1988 against the Kurdish town of Halabja. Beginning in the morning on March 16, 1988 and continuing all night, the Iraqis rained down volley after volley of bombs filled with a deadly mixture of mustard gas and nerve agents on Halabja. Immediate effects of the chemicals included blindness, vomiting, blisters, convulsions, and asphyxiation. Approximately 5,000 women, men, and children died within days of the attacks. Long-term effects included permanent blindness, cancer, and birth defects. An estimated 10,000 lived, but live daily with the disfigurement and sicknesses from the chemical weapons. Saddam Hussein’s cousin, Ali Hassan al-Majid was directly in charge of the chemical attacks against the Kurds, earning him the epithet, “Chemical Ali.”

      Or does Saddam’s violations not equal that of Assad’s? Because it couldn’t be just a right/left political thing you’re hung up on, right?
      Help me out here.

       
      • sarahbloch

        September 6, 2013 at 7:34 am

        Had the Bush administration decided in 1987 to strike Saddam Hussein for this war crime I would have supported it fully but they did not out of fear that to engage in a military action against Iraq at the time might have changed the balance of the war between Iraq and Iran.

        But the nature of the Iraq War in 2003 was justified by saying that Hussein had weapons that he did not possess and could not manufacture. The World Powers are fully aware of what Assad has and should not hesitate to strike against him.

         
      • Cluster

        September 6, 2013 at 7:41 am

        So it’s only a matter of time then, right? Also, Iraq possessing chemical weapons and WMD’s were also the “consensus” (I know how the left loves consensus), of the World Powers as well at the time. Attacking Assad, may also have serious ramifications with Russia and Iran, just FYI. But if you’re ok risking another much larger conflict, because you don’t like the way the “right” is treating your President, well then so be it.

         
      • Cluster

        September 6, 2013 at 7:37 am

        Historical revision is a luxury enjoyed only by the left. Good call.

         
      • GMB

        September 6, 2013 at 10:00 am

        “Historical revision is a luxury enjoyed only by the left. Good call.”

        It certainly is a good call. I would have much more respect for Sarah the moment she puts on a set of ACU’s, locks and loads her A4 and starts killing Syrians.

        Will it happen or is she only a hawk with other peoples lives?

         
      • ricorun

        September 6, 2013 at 11:06 am

        Cluster: Historical revision is a luxury enjoyed only by the left.

        You can’t be serious. On B4V you put up with Mark’s startling historical revisionism for years. Didn’t you notice? Don’t you remember? Sometimes (actually many times) I think you think that if it sounds good, it must be true. Overthinking? Perish the thought!

        But it’s not really about you. “Historical revisionism” is a time-honored tactic of ideological thinkers no matter what ideology is involved. It could be up/down, here/there, left/right, it doesn’t matter… if ideological thinking is involved, historical revisionism is likely to follow.

         
      • Cluster

        September 6, 2013 at 11:22 am

        You just have zero sense of humor Rico. You must be fun at parties.

         
      • ricorun

        September 6, 2013 at 12:15 pm

        Cluster: Cluster: You just have zero sense of humor Rico. You must be fun at parties.

        I’m perfectly fine with the revelation that you’re actually kidding about “historical revision being a luxury enjoyed only by the left” (along with all the other goofy things you said about global warming). But you might want to break it gentle to GWB. He might not be so accommodating.

        At any rate, it appears that the main thing distinguishing you from Andy Kaufman is, well, talent.

         
      • mitchethekid

        September 6, 2013 at 12:57 pm

        Lol! Andy Kaufman. Here I come to save the day! Except this blog isn’t performance art. Or is it?

         
      • ricorun

        September 6, 2013 at 1:54 pm

        mitche: Except this blog isn’t performance art. Or is it?

        Well, it appears that Cluster thinks it’s a not-too-effective facsimile of it. Every time someone points out his humor went flat by virtue of pointing out how ludicrous his latest pontification is, he accuses them of not having a sense of humor. I suppose it’s theoretically possible to argue that Cluster’s sense of humor is far more sophisticated than anything he actually says. But the fact remains that what he actually says — on pretty much any topic — is pretty low level. So at the very least I think it’s fair to suggest that if he continues to claim he’s a very funny guy, he needs to exhibit a “here he come to save the day!” kind of moment.

         
      • Cluster

        September 6, 2013 at 2:08 pm

        Good humor always has an element of truth Rico.

        But the fact remains that what he actually says — on pretty much any topic — is pretty low level. – Rico

        Now that my friend is hilarious. And I could never aspire to the level of intellect displayed by you on nearly every subject.

         
      • sarahbloch

        September 6, 2013 at 7:38 am

        @Tiredoflibbs:

        Then why was there such a song and dance before the Iraq War invasion? If the resolutions were enough to justify invading Iraq why the yellowcake fraud, the aluminum tubes fraud and the mobile laboratories fraud? The simple answer is that in 10 years Hussein would either be dead of overthrown in the Iraqi version of the Arab Spring, but Bush couldn’t wait ten years to put his imprimatur on the region. Not with all that oil and water just sitting there needed to be controlled by US corporate interests.

         
    • mitchethekid

      September 6, 2013 at 8:15 am

      That’s what I had pointed out. The 180 the conservative bank is engaged in. It’s a toss up as to which is worse, the use of gas, the rebels engaging in the same brutality as the Syrian Army or the shameless, transparent duplicity exhibited by the right.

       
  7. sarahbloch

    September 6, 2013 at 7:40 am

    If President Obama’s resolution is voted down by the House let’s see how long it takes for conservative pundits to call him weak for not ordering the strike by way of the war powers act.

     
  8. mitchethekid

    September 6, 2013 at 8:24 am

    Sarah has a point! Although now the conservatives do not want to have any involvement with Syria primarily because the President does. Don’t misunderstand me, I’m not sure what we should do, not that what I think has any influence in congress but the “Let Allah Sort it Out” crowd is just as disgusting in their motivation as some of the rebels.
    So I’m curious. What is being revised here? Shall we stick to the subject or do a side by side comparison of the flow chart of decision making between GWB and Obama. Guess whose side I’m on.

     
    • ricorun

      September 6, 2013 at 9:35 am

      mitche: Don’t misunderstand me, I’m not sure what we should do, not that what I think has any influence in congress but the “Let Allah Sort it Out” crowd is just as disgusting in their motivation as some of the rebels.

      Don’t misunderstand me either, cuz I don’t have the answers either. But if not Allah, then who? Who or what do you rely on for your moral outrage? I know I twisted up your meaning a bit, but pretty good question, don’t you think? Lol!

      Seriously though, who gets to choose? Personally, I think it should be the people most directly involved in the conflict. Also IMO, they’re likely to make better decisions the more they feel the horror… the horror. So I think I’m sorta kinda with GMB on this one — the exception being that I think there are things to be done. After all, no matter what we do we’re doing something. Specifically, I believe it’s appropriate, both politically and morally, to “clip Assad’s wings”, literally as well as figuratively.

       
      • mitchethekid

        September 6, 2013 at 10:29 am

        You said it best with this:
        “So that, I think, is the best strategy in Syria: intervene in a way that is designed to optimize the likelihood that neither side will win, forcing them to come to some sort of political settlement once they get tired of killing each other.”
        As far as moral outrage, I use my own humanistic values. Other than 2%, our DNA is essentially that of a Chimpanzee and even they do not engage in such barbaric behavior. Repeatedly. And it’s not just Syria. It is this time, but this battle has been fought for centuries and since I think that god is an idea of man, then was disingenuous of me to mention Allah. I was mocking those whose solution to everything is their idea of god. Which, according to them is superior to all other ideas. The person who said this has made a career out of snark, criticism and resentment while offering nothing of any value or intelligence. Unfortunately god will not sort this out and sadly, it seems that the world doesn’t want to get involved much either. Kitty Genovese.

         
  9. ricorun

    September 6, 2013 at 11:58 am

    Cluster: You just have zero sense of humor Rico. You must be fun at parties.

    I’m perfectly fine with the revelation that you turned out to be kidding about “historical revision being a luxury enjoyed only by the left”. But you might want to break it gentle to GWB. He might not be so accommodating.

     
  10. mitchethekid

    September 6, 2013 at 1:57 pm

    Trust me, he’s funny.

     
    • Cluster

      September 6, 2013 at 2:06 pm

      I don’t even come close to your comedic wit mi amigo.

       
 
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